is full of firms and organizations looking to hire talented people to do the
specialized work that keeps Washington humming. Direct mail, database
management, digital media, TV, fundraising – every aspect of a campaign has
corresponding firms here in DC that help Democrats go out and win elections.
All of those
consultants and firms are in addition to the non-profit and issue advocacy
organizations that call DC home. The League of Conservation Voters, J Street,
and Choice USA are all examples of organizations attending Democratic GAIN’s
Career Fair that are looking for talented individuals to help them pursue their
agendas and achieve their policy goals.
Do you think
you have something to offer a firm, consultant, or organization? Do you have
expertise in one area of politics that could be put to use by a progressive
ever thought about getting into consulting or working for an organization, check
out what Alix DeJean of the Dewey Square Group has to say about what it’s like
working as a consultant:
for a consulting firm presents different challenges from working on a campaign.
On campaigns, you often have to be a generalist- everyone pitches in. As a
consultant working at a firm, you have to apply your expertise in fundraising
or direct mail or communications to provide a particular service to a campaign.
You work with multiple clients, each with different needs but the same high
expectations for the quality of your work. Every client has to be a priority
and that presents different challenges from working on a campaign as a staffer.”
If you’re working for a non-profit or progressive advocacy
organization, many of the same principles apply. You’re going to have to
demonstrate that the skills you bring to the table are going to help the organization
achieve its policy goals. Your passion for a particular issue can be a great
asset. When working on a campaign, you have to elect one person with a variety
of issue positions. At an environmental organization, you’re able to focus
solely on the environmental issues that really motivate you.
Whether you want to work as a consultant at a firm or as part of a
non-profit or issue advocacy organization, the Democratic GAIN Career Fair is
great place to be. We’ll have dozens of firms and organizations looking for smart,
talented people heading into 2012.
Do you think you have what it takes to manage a campaign?
Every campaign, from State Representative to President,
needs a manager. The campaign manager is responsible for writing the campaign
plan, creating the campaign budget, and hiring staff that will execute the
Being a campaign manager
requires you to manage relationships. The relationship between campaign manager
and candidate is the most important relationship that a campaign manager has to
cultivate. The candidate is your boss, but the candidate also relies on you to make decisions about how they should spend their time. This is where
"managing up” comes in. You have to be able to disagree with your candidate
when they want to deviate from the campaign plan. You have to be willing to
tell them that call time needs to take priority over marching in a parade this
week or that, no matter the outcome of past elections, ordering more campaign
t-shirts is not the best use of the campaign’s money.
Simone Ward is the President of Democratic GAIN’s Board of
Directors and managed Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s 2010 reelection campaign. Here is
what she had to say about managing a campaign:
"Managing a campaign means you have to be a jack of all
trades. You need to understand what your consultants, staff, and candidate are
thinking and doing. You’re in charge of the campaign’s budget, too. It’s your
job to set the overall strategy for the campaign and then manage the people and
relationships that will help your campaign follow that strategy to victory. It
is also means managing up. The candidate is your boss, but it’s your
responsibility to get the candidate to stick with the campaign plan. That
sometimes means telling the candidate, ‘No.’”
manager, you are the nexus for internal communication. It’s your job to keep
your staff and consultants on the same page when executing the campaign plan.
There will be a number of people who will be more than happy to tell you how
your campaign should be run and how you should be doing things. That’s why
writing and sticking to a campaign plan is so important.
A campaign manager
at their best runs an operation where the different components of the campaign
– field, finance, communication, consultants – are working in concert. You set
the goals for each department that will help the campaign achieve its overall
goal: winning the election. You need to make sure field is knocking on the
right number of doors and that finance is raising the amount of money
they need to. If anyone is falling behind, the campaign manager has to step in
and help them get back on track because the campaign manager is responsible for
every decision, success, and shortfall on a campaign.
It’s as simple as that. That one extra round of door
knockers you sent out or that extra hour of phone banking can make the difference
when a race is coming down to a couple hundred votes.
At its most basic, field strategy is simple: identify the
people who will vote for you and then make sure those people show up to vote on
Election Day. At its best though, Field is about empowering people to bring
your candidates message directly to their neighbors. It’s about inspiring
people to give some their time and energy for a cause they believe in.
If you want to work as a Field Organizer or Field Director
on a campaign, you need to be a people person. You need to be able to work with
volunteers and manage volunteers. It can be delicate balance between effectively
managing people and respecting the time they’re giving to your campaign.
Marlon Marshall is currently Deputy National Field Director
for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. Here is what he had to say
about Field organizing:
"Organizing is about building and maintaining connections
between people and your campaign. Whether volunteers are making phone calls,
holding signs, or knocking on doors, they’re making those connections to voters
and the community. Going door-to-door works because it’s personal—one person
talking to another, neighbor to neighbor. Online organizing was key in 2008
because friends reached out to friends over email or on Facebook, helping build
that personal connection to the campaign. Those online and offline personal
connections are what make the difference on Election Day.”
Field work is an
excellent way to break into the Political Campaign world. It requires long
hours and lots of patience. You’ll be spending a lot of time organizing door
knocking shifts, phone banks, recruiting volunteers, and managing data – lots of
Positive IDs, ID rates, turf, and call lists are all a part of the Field worker’s
daily routine. Successful data management is the foundation of any good GOTV
program. You have to know who your voters are and where they are if you are
planning on turning them out to vote on Election Day.
In politics, your message can be everything. If you can’t
communicate with your voters, activists, or constituents, you’re not going to
be able to achieve your goals.
At the Democratic GAIN career fair, there will be many
organizations looking for qualified candidates to join their communications
There are no shortage of firms and organizations in Washington who need
communication professionals. Party organizations, labor unions, consulting
firms, non-profits, and advocacy organizations all need professional
communications teams to help them achieve their goals.
Democratic GAIN board member Mary Rickles is the
Communications Director of Netroots Nation. She had this to say about what it
takes to succeed in the political communication game:
"Effective communication is the foundation for all
successful organizing—whether you’re running for office, raising money for an
organization or collecting petition signatures for your favorite cause. Being
able to craft a concise, compelling story (ever heard someone talk about the
"story of self?”) and make it relatable to the people you’re trying to reach is
the first step. Combine good storytelling with strong social media savvy and
the ability to work with the media and you’re on your way to being a rock star
If you think about successful progressive candidates and
organizations, they all have messages that are concise, compelling, and
If you’re looking to break into political communication,
start thinking about where on your resume you can you highlight communications
skills. Have you ever had to take a complex idea and explain it other people in
a way that was easy to understand? Have you ever been in a position that
required you to write a lot? Were deadlines ever a regular part of any past
experience you might have?
There will be plenty at the Career Fair for established
communications professionals, too. If you’re looking to make the jump from
campaigns to labor, non-profit, or consulting, those fields will be well
Whether you’re just starting out or are just looking to
change jobs, there will be plenty for communications professionals at GAIN’s
Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons,
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Democratic GAIN is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a CAREER FAIR on Friday, January 22nd in Washington, DC. This is a great opportunity for you to find your next job opportunity in politics!
We have already confirmed these top employers:
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Democratic Governors Association
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
National Education Association
Organizing for America
Of course, as more and more employers confirm their attendance at the Career Fair, we will keep you posted!
Want to come? Here’s what to do:
First, register online.
If you’re a GAIN member, the Career Fair is just $10 (you must be
logged in to get your discount!). For non-members, the Career Fair is
$20. You must pick one session to attend – morning or afternoon.
Second, be sure to update your profile at www.DemocraticGAIN.org.
Make sure all of your employment information is up to date and that you
have uploaded your resume. Often, employers will search our resume
database without posting a job publicly.
Third, attend one of our resume workshops to make sure your resume will get noticed at the Career Fair!
Fair participants will also receive a free ticket to GAIN’s Networking
Happy Hour on Thursday, January 21st at SEIU. And, at the Career Fair,
you can sign up to receive one-on-one career assistance and advice from
Again, GAIN members receive a 50% discount! Not a GAIN member? This is the perfect time to join!
Saturday’s Career Fair at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ was so much fun! First of all, it was great to get out of DC and meet a whole new group of employers and individuals. Secondly, the panel discussions rocked – thank you so much to all of our panelists for joining and lending their expertise. I’ve gotten dozens of emails over the weekend from attendees and participants who were just so pleased with everything.
The NJ event would not have happened had it not been for the hard work of Steve Ayscue in NJ and Matt Albert helping with NY. Thank you both so much!
We are interested in doing more events outside of the Washington area. Partnering with someone on the ground helps create great events for all who come. If you want to bring a career fair or networking happy hour to your area, please feel free to contact us and we’ll see what we can do.
This past weekend, Democratic GAIN partnered with the New Organizing Institute (NOI) to host a Democratic and Progressive Career Fair in conjunction with NOI's RootsCampDC weekend. These events, which were held at Trinity College in Northeast DC, were not only well- attended, but were also deemed to be a great success by both employers and participants.
Over the course of the two day event, participants attended break-out sessions, panel discussions and the career fair, all of which were designed to not only help them connect with their fellow organizers, but also to provide insight into how they can further their careers in progressive politics and advocacy.
On Saturday, Democratic GAIN sponsored two discussions about finding a job and working in various political fields. Our “How to work in Advocacy” discussion was led by Greg Speed, Executive Director of America Votes; Cathy Duvall, Political Director at Sierra Club; and Tanya Tarr, Political Research Analyst at AFSCME and our “How to Work on the Hill” discussion was led by Chris Chwastyk, Chief of Staff to Rep. Chet Edwards; Danny O’Brien, Chief of Staff to Sen. Bob Menendez; and Lona Valmoro, Senior Advisor to Sen. Hillary Clinton. The panelists at both discussions shared the stories of their personal pathways to success and gave advice, feedback and encouragement to the participants. Democratic GAIN would like to extend a special “thank you” to our panelists for taking time out of their Saturday’s to impart their wisdom and knowledge to the next generation of political leaders.
The general message from the panelists was:
Do good work
Network, network, network
Get your foot in the door (even if that means interning or taking what you think is a job below your skillset for a little while)
Don’t give up.
If you were unable to attend the discussions, you can read my own story and advice here.
Sunday’s Career Fair showcased nearly 50 diverse employers from the democratic party and progressive movement, including (but not limited to) House & Senate Democrats, DNC, Democratic Party of Virginia, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Democracy for America, DLCC, and many, many other amazing unions, consultants, higher education establishments, and advocacy organizations. Participants were afforded the opportunity to speak with these employers about their organizations and their plans for 2009 while also learning about their current and future staffing needs.
Democratic GAIN would like to extend special thank you to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and their teams for representing both the House and Senate Democrats at the Career Fair, as well as all of the representatives from the various employers who were on-hand to discuss the various opportunities available to participants.
If you were unable to attend the Career Fair but would like to get your resume in front of these organizations, make sure it is updated and posted on the Democratic GAIN website! Many employers reminded participants that they often don’t post their open positions and only search the resume database when hiring.
On a final note, Democratic GAIN would like to express our thanks to all of the organizers, volunteers, participants and employers, all of whom made both the Career Fair and RootsCamp a huge success. We value your participation, and look forward to a bright future for the progressive movement!
Did you just finish the campaign cycle? Looking for the next career move?
Are you a campaign, consultant, advocacy group or labor union looking to do big things in 2009?
Then Democratic GAIN is here to help.
Whether you're a cause looking for talent or a talent looking for a cause, then the next Democratic GAIN Career Fair is right around the corner.
Democratic GAIN Career Fairs are the best place for employers looking for talented staff and political professionals looking for their next opportunity to connect to one another. Please join us for the first Career Fair following the 2008 election to find your next employee or employer!
DC Career Fair Sunday, December 14: 11 AM - 3 PM Trinity College 125 Michigan Ave NE Washington, DC 20017